Portrait of Lady of Guo Going Sightseeing in Spring by Zhang Xuan

Portrait of Lady of Guo Going Sightseeing in Spring by Zhang Xuan

Artist: Zhang Xuan (Song Dynasty copy)
Dimensions: 51.8cm high, 148cm wide
Material: ink and pigment on silk
Time: Tang Dynasty (618-907) (currently located at the Liaoning Provincial Museum)
This painting is a portrait of Lady of Guo, the youngest of the three elder sisters of Yang Yuhuan (the favorite concubine of the Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty), in splendid attire going sightseeing in the spring with her family in 752, the 11th year of Tianbao (742-756) reign.
In the painting, there are nine people riding horses. The three riders in the front and three riders bringing up the rear are attendants, maids and a nanny. In the middle, the two riders are Lady of Qin and the Lady of Guo. Four of the figures (including the young girl) are wearing ruqun dresses and brocade scarfs, while the other five figures are wearing gentleman’s round-collar robes. The Lady of Guo, on the left center of the painting, is wearing a light greenish-blue narrow sleeved upper garment, with a brocade scarf around her shoulders and a red skirt decorated with painted golden flowers. From beneath her skirt, the gorgeous red color of the decoration on top of her embroidered shoes can be seen. The Lady of Qin is located on the right upper section of the painting, turning sidewise to talk with the Lady of Guo.
In the painting, the inner reflections and expressions of the people are accentuated by the fine lined drawing and color layout. Its rich colors do not take away from its refined beauty and its detailed work does not lessen its vividness. The composition of the picture has a natural density. The suggested movement of the people and horses is comfortable and relaxed, fitting the theme of a spring outing.
The people in the painting, though finely outlined, are full figured. At the same time, they have an attractive strength and charm. The colors, elegant and rich, are painted with a vivid and lucid style. The picture is alive with ease, grace, self-confidence and optimism typical of the flourishing Tang Dynasty (618-907).
This painting is a copy made by artists during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). The original painting cannot be found. Because of the exquisite skill used in the painting, and the care with which it has been passed down through generations, it has been called one of the most magnificent paintings in the history of painting.
Introduction of Zhang Xuan
Zhang Xuan was an outstanding artist of great reputation who lived during the Kaiyuan (713-741) and Tianbao (742-756) reign periods in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). He used fine brushwork to make paintings of people and was especially good at painting high-class women, infants and pommel horses. He was one of the greatest painters during that period, equal with the renowned painter Zhou Fang.

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